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Rules for Casual Collection

Casual or hobby collecting of reasonable amounts of common invertebrate and plant fossils is allowable without a permit. A reasonable amount is what a collector may keep for a personal hobby collection or display in their home. These fossils must be for personal use; they may not be sold.

Common invertebrate fossils include the fossilized remains of animals without a backbone, including snails, oysters, ammonites, corals, shellfish, and others.  This also includes different types of preservation of animals in rock, including tracks, traces, burrows, impressions, and original hard-parts.

Plant fossils include leaf and stem impressions, root traces, and original material.  Although petrified wood was once a tree, slightly different regulations apply to the collection of it because in its current state, it is classified as a mineral. Up to 25 pounds of petrified wood per day may be collected without a permit, provided that the total removed by one person does not exceed 250 pounds in one calendar year.

Some invertebrate or plant fossils are rare or unusual.  Rare or unusual invertebrate or plant fossils must be deposited in a museum and may only be collected with a paleontological resource use permit.

Some lands may be closed to hobby or casual collecting of fossils, so always check with the local BLM office in the area you would like to collect from.